Translating display texts and HMI texts in the best way possible: A perfect fit in any language

The interaction between human and machine determines how reliable the increasingly automated world of work is. Displays and instructions for the operation of machines therefore require clear, comprehensible texts and complete, correct translations, even in the smallest possible space, in order to avoid operating errors, consequential damage and complaints and to successfully market technical devices worldwide.

In everyday operations, technologies and computer systems take over important tasks, either visibly or unnoticed in the background. Sensors and interfaces make it possible for them to be operated by humans. This is complicated in part by the increasing level of automation and system complexity. Clear, understandable texts and translations of human machine interfaces (HMI), the interface between human and machine, are therefore all the more important. However, the space available for text in control panels and on displays is limited. Translations of HMI that are cryptic, highly abbreviated or incorrect make operating machines more difficult and more expensive. The smallest mistake can have major consequences. To sum up: Translations of limited length for HMI texts and displays in different languages are a real challenge.

The challenges of display translations

HMI translations are more complex than traditional translations because technology dictates the framework conditions here. Translating HMI software or display texts for production and machine control systems has its own set of specific challenges:

1. Limited space

Displays of technical devices are usually relatively small. As a result, the texts have to be adapted to limited space requirements. Only the most relevant information can be displayed. If companies are globally active, the texts must be translated without the loss of important information. This is a challenge, considering that terms in English are usually much shorter than in German or Russian, for example.

2. Many file formats

Companies often use very different software and file formats to define display content or develop file formats as individual special solutions for their technical products. The projects must therefore be managed individually and workflows must be developed on a customer-specific basis.

3. Missing context information

Translators often only receive individual text content separated from the source code. As a result, important contextual information that can prevent translation errors is missing. This causes unnecessary correction loops or, in the worst case, devices delivered with incorrect information.

Until now, the only way to avoid translation errors and ensure usability involved complex and costly workflows. However, by using innovative workflows and technologies, experienced translation managers can now optimise these processes and cut costs.

Everything from a single source: How we can support you

For error-free and comprehensible translations of HMI and display texts, oneword is committed to a combination of native-speaking professional translators and technological support. This ensures the quality and comprehensibility of HMI translations by making full use of space and taking context into account, while at the same time saving time and money. In addition, our solution ensures consistency between the translation in the manual and on the display, minimising the risk of serious translation errors.

Together with our customers, our project management team develops a customised workflow concept that is essentially based on integrating the translation service into the company’s structures in terms of its processes and technology. This is how we enable individually optimised processes, regardless of the underlying systems and existing structures, such as the custom-optimised workflow concept we developed together with ILLIG Maschinenbau GmbH & Co. KG.

Best Practice HMI Translation

As the world’s leading supplier of thermoforming and tooling systems, ILLIG Maschinenbau GmbH & Co. KG serves customers in more than 80 countries. ILLIG machines are equipped with screens or displays and HMI for operation and status displays. The texts on these displays have to be translated into different languages in line with customer specifications.

ILLIG Maschinenbau has fully entrusted oneword with this task. In our free case study, we explain how oneword implemented ILLIG’s goals with the help of a customised workflow concept: optimal utilisation of text fields, consistency with operating instructions, increased text quality and readability   for users of the machines on site, and all this directly in the SIEMENS TIA Portal (WinCC), without having to draw on the capacities of the ILLIG developers.

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